Hearthstone Esports Betting – Best Sites And Strategy

Written by: Alonzo Solano, Sports Analyst and Content Writer
Last updated:
15 minute read

Hearthstone betting interest along with eSports betting, in general, have taken the world by storm and other gaming titles now attract mainstream attention. Digital card games have been around for quite a while and show no signs of losing interest any time soon, games like Hearthstone, Magic the Gathering and Gwent (from the creators of The Witcher 3).

And with an increased emphasis on competitive play over the last few years, especially in the digital scene, Hearthstone betting has become an exciting way to spice up your tournament experience and potentially pocket a bit of money as well.

Betting companies are increasingly interested in offering odds for Hearthstone tournaments and are also sponsoring teams – a great sign that eSports betting on digital card games is here to stay. Here we present the complete guide to mastering the art of betting on Hearthstone, along with the best esports betting sites and top tournaments to watch & track.

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Hearthstone Betting – Types Of Bets

Since Hearthstone is not one of the absolutely massive eSports, you are not going to find it offered on every site – however, many of the endemic sportsbooks and the larger bookies include it alongside the usual suspects. Beyond outrights, you also have the option to bet on the outcome of individual matches. Keep an eye out on our betting site recommendations – these offer Hearthstone betting alongside the many other eSport titles.

Hearthstone Outright Bets

One of your options is to predict the winner of the entire event in advance – known as an outright bet –, which requires a very good understanding of the field and is generally pretty tough to get right in a game like Hearthstone. Since variance plays a decent-sized role in individual matches, it is difficult to map out a competitor’s path to the finals.

Hearthstone Winner Match Bets

This is why betting on the outcome of the individual matches can be more profitable in the long run, especially if you’ve got a good understanding how the decks brought by the different players line up against each other: it makes much more sense to bet on those if you’ve got a good understanding of the game.

In general, the Hearthstone eSports scene is still in development and with the recent changes to the competitive format, we might see an increase of players which would allow for a bigger market, hence different types of bets. That’s the normal development for any eSport. Bigger ones like League of Legends and CSGO have gone through this same process and with the overall increase in interest through all eSports we will see betting increasing across the board too. This, in the end, increases bettors’ chances to get into the betting action.

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Hearthstone Betting Guide And Tips

It can be tricky to navigate all the options available to you in the world of Hearthstone betting. Here are a few things you need to pay attention to when you’re doing your research that will increase your chances of winning.

Betting Tip #1Understand The Hearthstone Tournament Format

Normally, the higher the sample size, the larger the edge is for the favorites, but that isn’t necessarily the case in every Hearthstone scenario. A lot depends on the specifics: for instance, a best-of-seven format experimented with at certain events didn’t actually make things more skill-testing because of the fact that the extra deck players had to bring was often so much weaker than the rest of their lineup that it actually added extra variance compared to best-of-five matches, functioning like a banana skin the players could potentially trip on.

As a rule of thumb, if a tournament features a unique format, check out what the participants were saying about it on social media around the time of its announcement. If it increases variance, they’ll be sure to tell you about it – and you can adjust your betting plans accordingly.

Betting Tip #2Blizzard Is (Almost) Omnipotent

While there are third-party events as well, Hearthstone’s eSports scene is fairly centralized and basically, everything depends on the developers’ stance. Keep an eye out on their public statements and announced plans because they can directly impact any tournament at any time on a wide variety of issues ranging from the ruleset to viable decks, even in the case of a third-party event.

Betting Tip #2Things Can Change Very Quickly

Sometimes major gameplay patches are dropped a single day before a large tournament or players only learn about a change in the format from a social media announcement. It’s very important to stay on top of things and try to follow as much of the pre-event coverage revolving around a tournament you want to bet on as possible; the spectrum of possible short-term adjustments is much wider here than in the case of many other eSports.

Betting Tip #3Psychology Plays A Larger Part Than You Would Think

One-versus-one games always have an intimate psychological competitive component to them, and it’s especially true for a strategy game like this one where your thought process is essentially the only thing that can make the difference between victory and defeat.

Professional chess players also often describe their matches as psychological battles. This means you should pay as close attention as possible to the mental state of each player. Are they still upset about a misplay two games ago? Do they seem nervous? Confident? Confused? Make someone else’s nervousness your betting advantage!

Betting Tip #3Don’t Be Blinded By The Big-Name Streamers

It may be tempting to bet on the most popular personalities, especially because their followers are often convinced they’re the best thing since sliced bread and most of them owe their popularity to a breakout tournament performance or two. However, the last few years have clearly shown that a focus on content creation inevitably takes away some of the player’s competitive edge.

Which makes sense if you consider they now can’t have their full attention on attaining the highest possible level of gameplay, having to focus on streaming obligations (the audience, entertainment et cetera) at least to some extent. Historically, those who began to put an emphasis on streaming tended to fall off from a competitive standpoint (at least in open events). Identifying and betting on the hungry underdogs still looking for their big break can be very rewarding when it comes to Hearthstone betting.

Betting Tip #3There’s A Mathematical Limit To Edges

If you see any offerings above 3-to-1 (or over +200 in terms of moneyline odds), you should seriously consider a punt on it. Simply put, the sample size essentially makes it impossible for one player to guarantee a series win at a 75+% rate in the long run, meaning upsets are going to happen often enough to make those bets profitable simply on a mathematical basis – the skill edges are just not this big at the top of the competitive scene to compensate.

Best Betting Sites For Hearthstone

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Top Hearthstone Tournaments To Bet On

The Hearthstone Masters And Grandmasters Events

Betting On Hearthstone Masters Tournament2019’s complete revamp of the official Hearthstone tournament circuit has led to the creation of a set of brand new top-tier events. The details are still sketchy at the time of writing but it’s clear that these will be replacing the previous Hearthstone Championship Tour (HCT) system. The Grandmaster event is supposedly going to be a mostly invite-based, elite-level, league-like competition, meaning it should reward consistency enough to make it worthwhile from a betting perspective.

High Profile Third-Party Events

Betting On Starladder Hearthstone TournamentWe don’t yet know much about how the non-Blizzard events will look like in 2019 apart from the fact that DreamHack opted to put their own series on halt for the time being. Even prestigious organizers like StarLadder put up well-funded invite-only events with basically no marketing behind them, meaning sometimes finding out about a tournament can be challenging enough. The best resource perhaps is the r/hearthstone subreddit, a community-collated information about the game.

Hearthstone Basic Gameplay Mechanics

What Is Hearthstone?

Hearthstone Card Game - SmallHearthstone is a free-to-play digital collectible card game created by Blizzard Entertainment, launched in March 2014. Branded as “deceptively simple, insanely fun”, it’s taken the CCG world by storm after its release, pioneering the genre’s real pivot to the digital scene and staying the undisputed market leader to this day. Since it is a strategy game with little to no execution-related skills playing a part, gaining a good understanding of the game is more important in terms of getting a big betting edge.

While the specific decks and archetypes used by the pros change regularly depending on the metagame and the latest card releases (three new sets are added each year), these fundamentals always remain consistent – in fact, they’re mostly the same across all card games!

Objective Of The Game

Much like Magic: the Gathering, the infamous collectible card game the developers have taken a steady stream of inspiration from over the years, each Hearthstone match “depicts” a fictional one-on-one standoff between some of the most iconic characters of the Warcraft role, played as an in-universe card game in a magical tavern. Both players begin with thirty health points and thirty cards in their deck and proceed to use increasingly powerful minions and spells to gain advantages and eventually reduce their opponent’s health to zero.

Hearthstone Match Types – Gameplay Formats

Hearthstone’s main format is called Standard, where only the last two years’ releases and a set of evergreen cards can be used to construct your deck. This is meant to ensure a variety of decks and strategies over time. Almost every Hearthstone tournament utilizes this gameplay format. The wild mode allows players to use every card that’s ever been released in the game as part of their deck. The Arena is Hearthstone’s limited, draft-based format with very little competitive presence. Finally, Tavern Brawls are weekly little mini-games with unique house rules that are mostly meant for fun and are not to be taken seriously.

Differences In Professional Matches

For “mere mortals”, every Hearthstone encounter boils down to individual matches played on the regional ladder – but in tournaments, the players are meant to bring three or four decks to the fore at the same time, banning one of their opponents’ before playing a best-of-three or best-of-five series against each other with the remaining ones. This introduces a lot of brand new dynamics and reduces the effect of variance in the competition.

2019 marks the introduction of important changes both to the tournament formats and the overall structure in Hearthstone. A renewed emphasis on online qualifiers for the largest Blizzard-sanctioned events will create brand new opportunities for many as-of-yet-unknown competitors, and the new Specialist format should reward those with expertise in one specific archetype, something which hasn’t been the case in the competitive scene.

Hearthstone Archetypes And Gameplay Strategies

Control Decks In Hearthstone

Control Deck In HearthstoneAs the name suggests, control decks are all about keeping control of the board state, efficiently removing every threat until the opponent simply runs out of tools to play with. Their play strategy is often very much chess-like where small edges can be made more significant over time by making equal (in Hearthstone’s case, card-for-card) trades.

Aggro Decks In Hearthstone

Aggro Deck In HearthstoneFor aggressive, or “aggro” decks, it’s often said that face is the place – their goal is to close the game out as soon as possible by focusing on direct damage either through spells or early minions that can get out on the board and deal repeated damage over the first few turns before the opponent has a chance to react.

Midrange Decks In Hearthstone

Midrange Deck In HearthstoneThese decks fall somewhere between the two previous ones, trying to gain an edge by having the tools to play a control-oriented strategy against aggressive opponents but still packing enough of a punch to maintain initiative when facing pure control decks.

Combo Decks In Hearthstone

Combo Deck In HearthstoneThis archetype is all about assembling a specific set of cards in hand to execute an incredibly powerful combination that is often strong enough to win the match by itself. (Yu-gi-Oh’s infamous Exodia serves as a good example; drawing all “parts” of the mighty dragon meant an automatic win.) To that end, these decks usually consist of almost nothing but the combo pieces itself and card draw tools to make sure they can find them

Archetypes’ Relation To One Another

In every card game, these archetypes tend to interact with one another in a similar fashion: control decks are excellent at shutting down aggression, having the efficient tools required to pick apart the swarm of early small minions but they don’t have the initiative to disrupt a combo deck’s gameplan before their finishing move.

Conversely, aggro decks excel at nuking combo-based strategies simply by delivering lethal damage before they can play out their strategy – made all the easier by the fact that these archetypes naturally feature a lot of card draw tools for increased consistency instead of spells and minions that could help to stem the bleeding. As previously discussed, midrange decks are stuck somewhere in the middle; their role in the match is always defined by their opposition, and it often depends on deck to know if they have an edge or not.

This balance (control beats aggro, aggro beats combo, combo beats control) is slightly upset in Hearthstone due to the specificities of its game design: card draw tools are a bit cheaper than in many other games of the genre, adding a small edge to combo decks and, more importantly, the fact that the attacker gets to decide where the hits will land makes tempo (see at the Strategic concepts section) extra important.

Still, it’s a testament to the game’s depth that control decks are very highly represented at the top level of competition simply because of how many decision points they allow over the course of a match, allowing for the skill edge to shine through, which makes for a great spectacle!

Mirror Matches And The Impact On Gameplay

A classic concept lifted straight from Magic is the question of “who’s the beatdown” – if, say, two control decks meet in the field of battle, one of them is inevitably going to have slightly more resources available to them because of the way it’s been constructed. This means that the other side is going to be at a disadvantage playing their usual strategy and is incentivized to actually play as aggressively as possible.

Similarly, the clash of two aggressive decks doesn’t actually boil down to a pure race where both sides are ignoring one another: the slightly slower one is best off trying to out-control its opponent, at least in the early turns of the match. Nuances like these are incredibly important to understand and stay on top of if you want to be able to decipher how certain tournament lineups will fare against one another (more on that later).

If two combo decks are going head to head, the question is which one is able to assemble all its required pieces first. Consequently, the deck which requires fewer tools to get things done and/or has more card draw tools has a large advantage, but this too has to be paired with great high-value cards.

Hearthstone Strategic Concepts

  • Value – Ever heard the phrase about killing two birds with one stone? This is what value is all about: cards are finite resources in the game, meaning if you’re able to take out multiple ones of your opponent with just a single one of yours, you’ve gained an edge in the long run. Certain resource-generating cards can also be a source of extra value. Control decks (especially in mirrors) are looking to add up an insurmountable edge in value as their main win condition in most cases.
  • Tempo – Essentially the opposite of value, tempo basically translates to initiative on the board. Being able to dictate the terms of engagement (for instance, by being able to prioritize your opponent’s health total as the target of your attack instead of their minions) is very valuable for certain strategies that intend to close the game out quickly, so much so that it’s often correct for them to sacrifice lots of low-value cards to deal with a single minion just to get ahead on the board. Aggro and midrange decks put a premium on this resource.
  • Tech cards – While not exactly related to the two concepts above, these specific tools can be extremely impactful, especially in tournament play. In every card game, there are certain minions and spells which have an extremely powerful effect against a very narrow set of cards or one targeted strategy.

    These can greatly disrupt your opponent’s gameplan and can greatly swing the odds in a tournament setting as long as you’ve made a good guess as to what kind of opponents you’ll be facing. Again, these cards also necessitate a thorough understanding of specific lineups if you’d like to gain a betting edge.

Hearthstone Betting FAQ

Is Hearthstone A Skill-Based Game?

For a multitude of reasons, the game’s own community has taken a very cynical view of its depth and complexity, often implying that random effects are much more determinant of results than actual player input.

However, that’s very far from the truth – in fact, the top Hearthstone players’ winrate is directly comparable to those of other popular 1v1 eSports like StarCraft. If anything, the problem is with most tournament formats which don’t allow for enough matches to take place for the skill edge to shine through the short-term variance, making it even more important to understand those.

Is Hearthstone Dying?

Just like many other Blizzard titles, Hearthstone was often prematurely buried either due to the supposed impact of an upcoming competitor or a temporary loss of interest on Twitch. However, Hearthstone remains the top digital card game by all metrics at the time of writing and the release of new content always seems to bring back those who tuned off between expansions. The game’s medium-term future definitely seems secure and there are promising noises being made about the latest eSport changes as well.

How To Start Betting On Hearthstone?

Choose a Hearthstone betting site (you can see our recommendations below), sign up for free and make a deposit. From then on, navigate to the relevant eSports section on the site and search for the Hearthstone games you’d be interested in betting on.

How To Make Money Betting Hearthstone?

You’ve already made the first step! Knowing more than the bookmakers is important to win at Hearthstone betting, and while that may sound like a daunting task, this is not like a visit to a casino where you’re guaranteed to lose money in the long run. Pay attention to the tournaments, read about what’s going on in the scene, who’s on a high and who’s on a low, just be updated.

Comparing odds offered on different sites is also a nice way to gain an edge. Just keep in mind that since we’re talking about a card game and not a “traditional” eSport, the variance is naturally going to be higher.

Is There Cheating In Hearthstone?

Every bettor’s nightmare is the potential of match-fixing in a game, and while there were a few transgressions of this kind over the course of the last few years, they mostly stayed in the realm of online events where it’s incredibly difficult to police whether a player is getting illicit assistance.

The nature of the game makes it basically impossible to “cheat” in a LAN environment in the classic sense of the word (there is no equivalent of an aimbot or a wallhack in a card game, after all, especially not with a software as limited as Hearthstone’s) but there were nevertheless a few minor controversies like a player asking his neighbor about a specific matchup’s percentages to blow off nerves and a team trying to get an edge by watching the official broadcast on a delay.

Still, none of these were particularly impactful and only took place at the larger playoff events which still had online components by the virtue of being played all around the world at the same time from sanctioned third-party locations. The closest a pure LAN event has ever come to cheating-related controversy was when one player received a chat message saying “hi mom” in the middle of a match, leading many to suggest that it may have been a code to indicate a specific and important card drawn by the other player as seen on the official broadcast – an allegation that’s never been proven. It doesn’t get much milder than that.

About the Author

Alonzo Solano

Alonzo Solano

Sports Analyst and Content Writer

Alonzo is a Sports Betting Analyst and casino games enthusiast who has covered Football extensively at SBS, but don’t be surprised if you read him on other sports. He's the host of the NFL Latino TV podcast.

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